Tuesday, December 30, 2008

People are People....

Yesterday while traveling to work in the commuter lane, I checked my rear view mirror and was alarmed to see a rather large SUV rapidly advancing on me. To say this driver was "aggressive" is like saying that Audrey Hepburn was "kinda pretty".

Because the commuter lane has marked entrance and exit points, there wasn't really anywhere I could go to get out of this dear man's way. And because there were cars in front of me, I couldn't go any faster than the 75 mph (if you're my mother, read that "64.9 mph") that I was already going.

As this gentleman continued to travel dangerously close to my bumper, I began to wonder if he was some sort of automotive proctologist. Did I forget my yearly physical? Is there some sort of new age "house call" taking place here? Perhaps there is a need for bumper stickers with your insurance information printed on them so that I can more easily be billed for such a thorough exam.

Eventually he zipped around me and started "examining" someone else. I watched the brake lights and swerving as this vehicle pushed his way through the morning traffic, causing frustration for many other drivers. I don't think he was oblivious to his behavior - I think he plain didn't care if anyone else was impacted by his aggressive rudeness.

Compare that to the email that I received this last weekend through the Etsy store. You may remember we had a hot dog/bake sale in September in the parking lot of the Walmart down in St. George. The email said:
"I met you at Walmart while you were doing a fundraiser for the orphanage. My little 5 yr old girl was so touched by you guys and talked for days about wanting to help. She has been making bracelets and selling them to earn money for you guys. We wanted to come over with the money before Christmas but we never made it. I would like to figure out the best time for her to come over, she has been so excited to deliver the money herself!"

We all come into this world with the same things. We all choose different paths. I'm very grateful that for every bumper-prober there's a little family who is teaching their children about helping and serving others.

For good or bad, one person does make a difference!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Snuggling with Daddy

I think we took these pictures the first night of our October trip. We had only Jessica for most of the week, as you'll recall. That night, Brent had his computer out and was trying to upload some pictures or something.

Miss Jessi just came right over and of course wanted to help - anything with that many buttons and lights has to be AWESOME!! Naturally, right?

But the part that I liked the best was when she snuggled back into Brent's arm - cuddled right up with Daddy. She'd touch a key on the computer and then look up at Brent to see what his reaction was.

Of course, we think everything they do is adorable, so he was laughing which made her laugh with him. She has the funniest laugh - particularly if she knows she's being funny.

My dear friend, Melissa, recently posted about how her daughter likes to snuggle up with Daddy and they take a nap.

I can't wait until that's Brent and Jessica on our very own couch at our very own house.

Please let it come soon enough that they're still little and still want to snuggle. With our luck, they may well be 17 by the time we get them home! :D

Friday, December 26, 2008

Continued Prayers, Please....

My sweet friends found out today that the birth parents of the twin girls have decided to keep the babies. It's excruciating to go through this rollercoaster called adoption. Please keep Jason and Leslee in your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Giving

We've been so blessed to have a few choice family and friends who have donated to our Orphanage as part of their own Christmas celebrations. We're very grateful for all the love and support we've received and will be sent to Haiti from good people like you.

Thank you so much!

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Calling All Happy Thoughts!!!

I have a work friend who is adopting. He and his wife have been at this for years, just like us. They found out a couple of weeks ago that a birth mother had selected them and that she was expecting TWIN GIRLS in January.

I just heard that the birth mom is going to be induced TOMORROW and that my friends should get their baby girls on CHRISTMAS DAY!

I'm nearly in tears, I'm so excited for them.

I'm also anxious - now comes the agonizing part with adoption. Will she change her mind? Will everything go well?

It's so hard to want something so much that is such a blessing for you and yet such a heartache for another mother somewhere.

J&L will be FABULOUS parents. I am praying so hard that this happens for them and that they get their family on Christmas Day.

If you believe in happy thoughts - please send prayers, clap your hands (thanks, Tinkerbell) or just positive thoughts to the Powers that Be that this little family will have THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!

We're praying for you!! Keep us posted, J&L!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Stuff

We had our family part with my siblings this weekend. My older brother and his wife have hosted it the last few years. It's getting harder and harder to find a space where everyone can fit. They pulled it off yet again and it was a good time.

The food was great. It was fun to watch baby Abbie open her presents. For gift exchanges between my siblings, we changed the rules up a bit this year and said the gifts had to be made or had to be a form of service.

My sister and her husband drew our names and they made us 3 beautiful ornaments with pictures of Nathan, Jessica and Malot on them. I'll post pictures as soon as I figure out the best way to capture them. I was quite touched by them - literally speechless to see Malot's little smiling face on that ornament. Thank you, Z and Aaron. That was the perfect gift for us.

Brent and I don't do much around our own house for Christmas over the last two years. We both love Christmas, don't get me wrong. But lately our Christmas to each other is "the next Haiti trip". Not gonna buy a tree when that money could go to a Haiti trip. Neither of us really need anything, but what we both want is a Haiti trip. You get the idea.

We're just saving and focusing everything on that. I'm sure some of the neighbors wonder if we've changed religions as we don't have a tree up or anything. It's not that, it's just that our hearts are in Haiti and we want to really enjoy our next tree - and have kids home with us to join in the fun.

We ran an errand to Cabella's last night. For those of you that may not be familiar with it, Cabella's is an enormous hunting and fishing store. We have a ginormous store not to far from us. Inside it's practically a wildlife museum with all the different stuffed and mounted animals from all over the world.

When we're at Cabella's I normally think about our kids because I try to imagine what their reactions will be when we get them home and they can see this or that. But this last trip was different for us because we ran into two other families that had adopted black children. And watching the children run around and be so excited and the brief bit we spoke to one of the parents.... It was just a different reminder that sometime this will end and we'll be done and they'll be ours.
Next year.... please let it end soon....

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Been There - Done That - Had the T-shirts Made...

Well, Brent found a company to make our silk-screened T-shirts for us. ABC-Tees made the first batch and they look GREAT! The colors are perfect and the print is clear and sharp. They were wonderful to work with and Brent had nothing but good things to say about Cort at ABC-Tees. If you're ever in the market for custom silk screening, we highly recommend them. Thanks to Colleen for recommending them to us!

I still need to post them on the Etsy store (trying to figure out if I can get away with that - we're kind of bending the rules of what Etsy was intended to be, I think).

We only have adult sizes right now, mostly Medium, Large and X-Large. We're not sure what would be "requested" so we didn't order children's sizes at this point.

We've also nearly got all the kinks worked out of of the embroidery process. We've gone back to our friend Colleen to get a few tweaks made to the logo so that the small print will be legible when translated to thread but we should have some options in that department soon.

Thank you to all the people that are helping us pull things together to raise money for our orphanage. I wish you could see their sweet faces, but that will have to wait until we get the org website complete.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Advertise our store on your blog...

I have a tiny bit of code now so you can put our logo on your blog's sidebar if you'd like. Thanks to Friend Dan for his help there.

Email me or leave me a message if you'd like me to send this to you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sweets for the Sweet

Sometimes dinners with the big people get boring. Even if there's pizza involved.
Cute Jess loved the Halloween ghost suckers that Aunt Mare brought down for all the kids.

She also liked Pizza crust - we order it from Dominoes on the last night at an exhorbitant rate.

She had a little dance with the pizza crust. You go, sister! What every makes you happy.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Home Sweet Orphanage

I thought I'd post some pictures of the place where the kids are living. I only have a few good shots because, quite frankly, we're more focused on getting pics of the kids while we're there than of the facility.

Nadia and her staff try very hard to keep things very clean. And you can see in some of the pictures that she'd had cartoon characters painted on the walls to make it more visually stimulating for the children.

Kids still get sick for a variety of reasons. After watching Jessica lick the walls and the bottom of her shoe, I'm not at all surprised when we find out someone's sick at the O. Kids will be kids and kids put things in their mouths. When those things have been touched by filthy rain water and all that goes with it then you end up with an orphanage full of kids with giardia or some other gift that keeps on giving.

The O is basically a house with 3-4 bedrooms in it. It has a living room/dining room area, but not a lot of furniture. There's a big kitchen space and oh - how I desperately wish I could carry enough food to stock their shelves!

The kids play and spend most of their day in this area - it's basically the carport. It's covered so it's a bit cooler. We want to get ceiling fans installed for them to keep the bugs down. They eat their meals around these tables. They play around these tables. I'm assuming when the school teacher is there, he's teaching them around these tables.

The kids sleep in these bunk beds - multiple kids to a bed. There aren't blankets because it's Haiti and it's hot all the time. They don't have air conditioning and, given that electricity is often unavailable in the evening, a ceiling fan isn't even an option. Every inch of wall that a bunk bed will fit on is used for that purpose.
50 kids - 3 bedrooms and a carport. But they make it work and they're doing the best they can for our kids.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wacky Jess

Jess is very curious. She has a "texture thing". I mentioned before that she kept licking everything - the wall, her shoes, the mirror... You can see the gunk on the mirror in this picture left behind from the week's worth of kisses she kept giving herself in the mirror.

She really liked playing with the little girl in the mirror.
Jess is a very sound sleeper. Yes, she's completely asleep in this picture. You can tell she's an orphanage kid used to sleeping through the noise of all those other kids. She could sleep through a freight train going through the house. Her hair in this picture makes me giggle. And yes, we're terrible parents. Once we realized she'd sleep through this, I made Brent do it again so I could take pictures. Poor kid.... Jess is goofy. You can almost hear the silly noise she was making when I took this picture. She apparently REALLY liked PopTarts. She was doing a little dance and making noises. And there's that crazy tongue of hers! It's practically an accessory - it shows up in so many pictures!

That last morning, Brent and I were trying to get the kids fed and make sure we'd packed everything. We had a lot of "busy-ness" going on to try to distract us from the fact that we were leaving them AGAIN. Lots of action to delay the hurt that would hit us hard later that morning.

I had Jess in my arms and Brent had Nathan. As we were walking towards the area where we were to meet the other parents, Brent was approached by a nice looking group of people. It was an older man and woman and an extremely beautiful young Haitian woman. They were obviously Americans. We learned they were doing some sort of missionary work in Haiti.

They asked if we were adopting these children. Brent explained that we were and because the excitement was so fresh, he told them a bit about how we'd just been reunited with Nathan. He mentioned we had to leave them behind today and go back to America to wait for more paperwork to process.

The man and woman looked at each other and smiled knowingly several times through Brent's story. When Brent finished, the woman said, "Well, what you're doing is a good thing. It's good for all of you. And in 20 years, maybe your daughter will be as beautiful as ours is" and she put her arm around the young Haitian woman as she said this. She turned to her daughter and said, "It's all worth it. When we were going through the process of adopting our daughter, twenty one years ago, things were even more chaotic, if you can believe it. But it all works out in the end."

I don't think I need to tell you that I was sobbing by this point. It was just what we needed at that moment - a reminder that at some point we would be a family in OUR home, and not in a hotel in Haiti. Someday we'll be done with the paperwork and the waiting and the delays and the frustration and the sickness and sadness and distance.

Someday Jess will legally be our daughter and Nathan will legally be our son. But I already feel that they're both ours in my heart.

We love you, babies, and pray for angels to keep you happy, healthy and safe until we can bring you home.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thank you, Tia!

My dear Tia made and donated this sweet puff baby quilt for the Etsy store.

We sure appreciate all the support from good friends and family.

Luggage Woes

My friend, Ashok just had a rather rough trip getting back to India for a family funeral. He spent about 40 hours in the air, not counting layovers. And they lost his luggage. Travel can be so frustrating. It made me think of this little clip.


We added a few more items to the Etsy site. Thank you to Darlene who was willing to donate such beautiful cards and gift tags. Thank you as well to my brother and his wife who came over to help me get better pictures to post. Hopefully some of those items look a little better now.

Thank you again to everyone who purchased something thus far.

I have other friends and neighbors who are willing to help with the effort. Hopefully we'll have more items soon. And, if any of you kids reading along from home out there in Internet Land want to make something to contribute to the Etsy store, please feel free to email me. Etsy's business model is that it must all be handmade. You can browse the site for a bit and get a feel for the absolutely insane variety of items that are out there.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Giving

A dear friend told me today that she'd told a neighbor about our orphanage and what we're trying to do. The woman asked her how she could help and my friend gave her the link where I posted about donations to WIAA.

She just let me know that the woman emailed her today and said:

Thanks for the link. I will share this with my extended family as well. We have several nieces who are unable to have children and have adopted or are in the process of trying to adopt. I know they will want to contribute as well. I'm so glad you mentioned this in church. I was looking for something special for Christmas this year. You are an answer to my prayer.
I'm so grateful people are willing to help our kids and this sweet orphanage. They're trying so hard against nearly insurmountable odds to keep these kids alive and get them to better, eternal homes. As Harry said, they need our help to do what they do. They simply can't survive without donations.

We just can't imagine what it's like to live in Haiti or to be an orphan in Haiti. I'm reminded of what Nadia told our friends this last trip. Our friends are adopting a sibling group and Nadia told them that every time a plane flies overhead the oldest girl wants to know if that plane has her Mommy and Daddy on it to come and get her and take her to her new home. At 7, she is old enough to realize that life has more to offer than what she has available to her and she can hardly wait to come to her new home.

We're the answer to their prayers. You're the answer to our prayers. Those sweet children are the answer to so very, very many prayers.

Thank you so much to those who have added our little orphanage to their family's Christmas plans!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cards, cards, cards....

What a strange week it's been! We managed to get all the card orders shipped this morning (or delivered in some cases).

I made up these little tags and tied them to each bundle of cards with ribbon. How many times have I mentioned that I love having a logo? It just makes it seem more official and less like I'm suddenly and completely randomly an importer for Haitian handmade cards that I then package up in my basement and mail off to far-flung places like Montana. Oh, wait....

I thought I'd show you some of the other types of cards that Harry can have made for us. I scanned the sample cards that he sent, so my apologies if they're hard to view or cut off.

I think this would make a cute little set - "Happy Family cards"

These look like good Valentine's Day cards or a nice set to keep on hand to use on wedding gifts.

Here's a grouping for baby shower gifts

These cards say "Tropic Paradise" to me. Great all-purpose cards.

And these are my favorite - "Haitian Women". Some of these are just exquisite. I'm completely amazed by what they can do with a banana leaf!

So - what do you think?
  • Any of them strike your fancy?
  • Any that you'd buy if I had him make more?
  • Do the groupings make sense?
  • How many cards would you expect to get in a set (like one of each or two of each or would you expect to get "6 cards" or "10 cards", etc)
  • What would you expect to pay for them?
PRETTY PLEASE, I'm begging you for feedback. I feel like I don't have a good idea of whether we can really try to do this again for Harry because the bulk of the cards I shipped were ordered by three very generous people. Obviously, they can't keep that up!

Do you think that you or people like you would be interested in this?

Thursday, December 4, 2008


We have orders now for all the cards! I think that's a little bit of a miracle. Thank you for your support thus far.

We're getting more items for the store in the near future. Hopefully we can keep a bit of inventory moving through that so that we are always working on bringing in a little extra to feed the kids.

Thank you again for your support!

Next Item Up for Bid....

There's something about having a logo that makes us feel official! (Still working on getting the website and other such fun stuff done - oh, and all the legal hassels, but it's coming along)

My fabulous spouse found a company to turn our lovely logo into a symphony of satin stitching. Please give me a mental drumroll, while I present to you:

Now, we can start selling shirts with stitching on the website. And I think I'm going to see if Mom-in-Law's friend will help us put the logo on one of her lovely handmade purses. I think that would be a fun surprise for Nadia. What do you think?

We've joked that we need to get matching shirts the next time we go down to Haiti. Apparently in some ways, the missionary groups are safer than the rest of us Americans wandering around in Port-Au-Prince, and matching shirts would make us look like a missionary service group.

Anyone who's interested in getting a shirt that touts your support of this sweet orphanage and our fabulous kids - send me an email and we'll see what we can work out!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Helping Harry Help Haiti

It was a good day on the Hope for Little Angels of Haiti Esty store. Our first day in "operation" and we've had 3 orders. Of course, one of those was from my mother ordering a baby blanket made by my mother-in-law and generously paying the shipping fee even though she lives 15 minutes from me. Thanks, mom! The kids will appreciate every dime.

Another hefty order was from a dear friend who is also a Haitian Adoptive Mom and so she "gets it". Thank you again, Melissa.

And thank you as well to Julie in Texas who also ordered some of our banana leaf Christmas cards.

I believe I neglected to tell the backstory on the Christmas Cards....

After our October trip, we'd heard that an American soccer ball can be sold in Haiti for as much as $100. I thought, "If that's the case, we'll start taking flattened soccer balls down!!" So we sent a question through to Harry to find out if he thought he could make money reselling soccer balls. The response came back that he didn't think they could. So I sent a new query through asking if there was 'anything we could bring down to them that they could resell in Haiti".

Somewhere that may have potentially been lost in translation.

Several days later I received the response that Harry had thought of something and he would be sending me samples. Now I was completely confused. We were supposed to be taking things to them, right?

Well, on Dec 2nd we received a box from Haiti with 200 handmade Christmas cards in it. And a note explaining the history.

Harry, who works closely with the needy members of his faith as well as working at two orphanages, had rounded up some church members that did not have jobs and had them make these cards. He then paid for them himself at $1/card. His note said, "if you can post on the cards that buying these cards is giving food for some starving children and is giving jobs for some people".

I sent a message back through to Harry that I'd received the cards and that I hadn't meant for HIM to go to any expense personally, but that we'd definitely reimburse him on our next trip. And I thanked him for being so thoughtful as to find a way to serve the children and the people in his congregation that need work.

He responded that he wasn't worried if he didn't get back the money that he'd spent because:
I'm just open a door to find more money to help the orphanage with these kids. We really need money to save our children. We can't take care of them without receiving donation. We are working hard to create other opportunities to get money because we need a lot to spend for these kids everyday. I'm really appreciate the people which made these cards. I like to keep them busy and have them working to get money.
As usual, I'm overwhelmed with the generosity and love of the wonderful people we've met in Haiti. Harry and Nadia and their crew are truly amazing people and are some of the most giving, considerate, compassionate and noble individuals you'll ever meet.

He's right - they do "need a lot to spend for these kids everyday" because costs in Haiti are so astronomically high and they really can't take care of them without receiving donations."

If you'd like to tell others about these Christmas cards, or post the link to our little Etsy store on your own blog, PLEASE spread the word. I have about 160 cards left and it's Dec 3rd. Please help me help Harry to get these cards sold.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Good News and Fund Raising Opportunities

We heard from our agency today that Nathan will be kept one more night in the hospital and will be released tomorrow. They said that he's doing much better and should be full recovered soon.

Thank you so much for your prayers! We appreciate your support!

We also have a bit of an announcement. Our friends in Haiti have sent us some Christmas greeting cards that were made by some of the people they know that needed employment. We also have some beautiful baby blankets with crocheted edges that were made by Brent's mom. We've posted these on a little store on Etsy.com. We have some other friends and family who have offered to donate handmade items as well. We hope to be able to gather some funds for the orphanage through these items.

If you'd like to stop by and check out the few items we have available now, you can see the store here

I apologize in advance for my pictures on the site - we'll have to figure out some better lighting options soon!

I'm a bit nervous about this etsy store. We'll see how it goes. We've never done anything like this before.

Noble Beasts

And another distraction post...

I learned something FASCINATING this last week on the radio. Apparently, there is a segment of the population of this great country who believe that if someone in your household has asthma you should get a chihuahua.

Yes, a chihuahua.According to the DJs, the belief is that the dog will 'take your asthma' and the dog will then be sick and you will become well!

There are many questions that arise when I think about this line of logic. For starters, it seems like a very MEAN thing to do to the poor, unsuspecting dog! It seems rather vicious. Secondly, if you were going to believe that a dog had the ability to absorb your asthma why wouldn't you pick a dog with a greater lung capacity than the noble chihuahua? I mean, imagine what a MASTIFF could do in the same circumstances.

Check out those nostrils! He should be able to cure a fleet of sick asthmatics!

But really, aren't chihuahuas kinda wheezy dogs anyway? I suspect it has less to do with asthma absorption and more to do with inherent tiny nasal passages, but what do I know??

And I can say I'm very glad my friend, Michelle, uses an inhaler rather than a chihuahua to treat her asthma....

No offense intended to any noble, self-sacrificing chihuahuas that may be among my readership! May you and all your people breathe happily ever after!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Not ALWAYS Photogenic

I need something to distract me from the fact that we haven't heard any more about Nathan's health since they told us this weekend he's in the hospital.

This pic is posted for my dear friend, Princess Heather, who asked if it was even POSSIBLE for a child as cute as Jessica to take a "bad picture".

The answer to that is, "YES! My goodness, Yes!"

I think I was trying to get a picture of her little flicking tongue action and inadvertently captured a bug-eyed moment that is completely awesome!

Now you can compare My Worst, with Brent's Best and see that we really are quite happily married. He makes up for all that I lack!